Choosing a piece of art you love is just the first step in the process. Framing your pieces is so important to show your artwork off in the best possible way, as well as preserve it.
Here, we're sharing our Founder, Georgia Spray's, guide to selecting the right frame for your new artwork.
1. Assess the paper-type.
Does your artwork have a straight, clean edge or is it “deckled”?
A Deckled edge is when the border of the paper has a torn effect, usually naturally created if it’s a high quality pulp paper. You’ll often find this finish on work by artists such as Rose Electra Harris, Jonathan Schofield, Venetia Berry and Isabelle Hayman. If your work is the latter, then we’d recommend you go for floating it in a box-frame. This means that the artwork has a suspended look in the frame, and the edges are shown off, even with a slight shadow under the work.
If your work is straight edged, you might want to go for a window mount (more traditional) or just laying the artwork onto a backing card (a lay-on) - with or without a small border - for a more clean and contemporary look.
2. Assess the material.
It’s important to consider the materials used in the artwork before deciding on the frame, as this will affect your choice and is important when wanting to preserve the work for the longer term. If the artwork is created with a soft chalky material such as charcoal, pastel or oil pastel you’ll want to ensure that the glass is not touching the artwork, so a box frame will be necessary.
Georgia’s Tip: In particular, you’ll find this with artworks by Alexandria Coe, Hester Finch, Rose Electra Harris, Jonathan Schofield and Chica Seal.
3. What moulding to go for?
Choosing the “moulding” (or the edge of your frame), is often an art in itself and can make a big impact on the final interpretation of the piece. Try to think about framing specifically to show off the artwork, rather than to match a room or feature in your home, as you want the artwork to have life beyond that spot you may have in mind for it right now. As bespoke framing is costly, you don’t want to have to re-frame it when something’s gone out of fashion, so I’d always opt for a timeless approach rather than anything too ‘statement’.
However the overall aesthetic of your house can influence your choice - for example, do you live in a more traditional farmhouse or in the city / in a more contemporary home? Natural wood finishes such as oak are great for a farmhouse feel, and it’s amazing the array of colours and stains you can get so that your artworks don’t all have the same look. A white box frame is great for a contemporary and clean look, and can work well with rich and colourful artworks, as it lets them do the talking.
Georgia’s Tip: I personally love stained woods, as we have a more mid-century feel to our home, and I love to see the grain of the wood, and the variety of natural colours within one piece of tree. Some woods such as oak or walnut can be expensive, so speak to your framer about what stains they have - often a similar colour can be achieved through staining a more affordable cut of wood.
4. Choosing your Glass.
You’ve done the fun bit, you’ve chosen what frame best matches and shows off your artwork. You may like me, have gone for a more expensive wood than you’d have liked, but oh well it’s going to look great...but wait now there’s a whole range of glass to choose from?! You can get regular glass, UV glass, and totally non-reflective + UV protected “museum glass”. Each step will increase your price by as much as £20-£30 more so it’s worth considering what and when you need to take the leap.
The main consideration is where the artwork is going to be hung. Do you anticipate that it will be opposite a window or in direct sunlight for a lot of the day? If so, it’s well worth splashing a bit more now as UV glass will protect your artwork from fading or changing colour in the sun. Museum glass will almost totally block reflection from your work, so this is particularly helpful if the artwork is a photograph or has dark colours within it, as you’ll notice more glare.
The value of the work is definitely a consideration. If you’ve gone for a larger, more expensive work, I think it’s worth future proofing it now, and protecting the investment you’ve made. If the piece is smaller, a print, not too dark, and going in a room that doesn’t have a huge amount of light, I’d say save your pennies and opt for regular glass.
5. I don’t want a bespoke frame.
We know that sometimes the frame can cost more than the artwork, and that can seem counter-intuitive. If you’d rather opt for an “off the shelf” option, it’s still worth going to a framer, as they often have standardised affordable options which can still look great, and won’t be recognisably Ikea.
If you do want to order something online, then we’d suggest opting for glass frames over perspex, as I think that’s often a give-away. Neilsen makes fantastic frames which you can buy straight off of Amazon. I like their wood finishes and they look much more expensive than they are.
Ultimately all of the above might sound a bit overwhelming, but choosing a good framer is important as they should be able to talk you through all of your options and make suggestions according to your budget. We’d be happy to put you in touch with a recommended framer in London, or to give you a bespoke suggestion of how to frame your work, which you can then take to your local framer.
If you'd rather purchase ready-framed artworks, why not choose one here. Each frame has been carefully selected with a frame that compliments the piece.
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